May 3, 2019

Reflections on the Leadership and Legacy of Senator Richard Lugar

The world lost a great man and a leading champion of global food security last Sunday with the passing of Senator Richard Lugar, a veteran politician with a 36-year tenure representing Indiana in the Senate. He will be remembered for his strong leadership and dedication to bipartisanship. For the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Food and Agriculture Program team, most importantly, he was the original sponsor of the nascent Global Food Security Act, at the time known as the Lugar-Casey Bill. This bill was the first step towards Congressional recognition of the critical importance of global food security. Without his foresight and tireless support, both in the Senate and from his non-profit, The Lugar Center, US agricultural development programs would look very different. The legacy he has left behind will be reflected in the strength and depth of continued US leadership globally and those that continue to fight for global food security.

Reflections from our Distinguished Fellows on Senator Lugar:
Catherine Bertini, Former Executive Director, World Food Programme recalls;
Since 2006 when the Chicago Council on Global Affairs first entered the agriculture policy arena, we always knew that there was a clear and focused national leader forging the way on agricultural policy reform—that was Senator Richard Lugar. He has been on the forefront of reform and of leading the thought process on key issues relating to food and agriculture. What should US farm policy look like? How can the US lead in the world of agricultural development and support poor farmers in the developing world? Even before the Obama administration proposed “Feed the Future” and long before Congress passed the Global Food Security Act, Senator Lugar was leading the way on the importance of the US government’s role on these issues.
At the same time, he led on food aid policy, on programs to feed children in school around the world, and of course, on food programs to support the needs of poor Americans. What a pleasure it was, always, to work with Senator Lugar. As he rests in peace, we hope he does so knowing that he saved many lives and improved the lives and livelihoods of millions of others.
Dan Glickman, Former Agriculture Secretary and Former Member, House of Representatives remarks;
Senator Lugar was a transformational US Senator in so many areas, especially in improving American relations around the world, reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation, improving global food security, and as a key author of major US farm and food legislation. As Chair of both the Foreign Relations and Agriculture committees, he did this all by being bipartisan, thoughtful, and respectful and working across the aisle. Civility was his lodestar. We will all miss our good friend.
Doug Bereuter, Former Member, House of Representatives and President Emeritus, Asia Foundation remembers;
I have great admiration for Dick Lugar, one of the most distinguished and able members of Congress during my time. His legacy will be reflected in his landmark sponsorship of programs like the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which worked to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation in post-soviet Europe. His dedication to smart and effective foreign assistance will be remembered through the Lugar-Casey bill, which sought to export American know-how and agricultural expertise to struggling farmers globally. Dick Lugar was a wonderful human being and he will be missed.


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

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ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

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Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

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| By Roger Thurow

Our New Gordian Knot

Fifty years ago Dr. Norman Borlaug recieved the Nobel Peace Prize for cutting the "Goridan knot" of population and food production. Now the planet faces another seemingly intractable problem: how to nourish the planet while preserving the planet.